Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Google Tries Explaining Its Network Neutrality Non-Deal With Verizon, Again

On Monday, Google and Verizon rolled out a “policy proposal”–not a “business arrangement”–that explained the way they’d like to see telecommunications traffic regulated. Or not regulated, as the case may be.

That didn’t go well, at least by blogosphere standards. The hive mind quickly concluded that search giant Google (GOOG) and telco giant Verizon (VZ) were trying to fool Americans by proposing a deal where the old Web stayed “open,” while giving them the go-ahead to lock down a new “private” Web, as well as the wireless Web.

In addition, Google itself got a big heaping of scorn for seemingly flip-flopping on previous assurances about its plans for the mobile Web.

Not so! says Google. And it has published yet another policy statement to try to make its case. Best to read the thing in its entirety here. But on the most contentious points:

Google can’t argue that it hasn’t changed its stance on wireless. Because it has.

From Google’s post: “It’s true that Google previously has advocated for certain openness safeguards to be applied in a similar fashion to what would be applied to wireline services. However, in the spirit of compromise, we have agreed to a proposal that allows this market to remain free from regulation for now, while Congress keeps a watchful eye.”

Telco lobbyist Richard Whitt goes on to explain his company’s reasoning, which boils down to: Wireless is different from wired.

Google will have a hard time explaining the nuance of its stance on the “private” Web.

On Monday, Google and Verizon struggled to explain why broadband providers should be able to build out a second tier of Internet-like services that aren’t on the Internet and aren’t subject to “open” requirements. Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, pressed for examples, suggested that the new private Web would be great for 3-D video. But it’s hard to argue that bandwidth-intensive uses shouldn’t be subject to the same regulations as the rest of the Web. Getting this one through could be a real challenge.

[Image credit: don.wing45]


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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle